This new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Platinum Orange Ceramic (ref. 126.96.36.199.99.001) automatic watch looks like an extremely expensive crossover between their flashy Seamaster Planet Ocean automatic chronograph that the brand has introduced almost three years ago and a tad fresher Co-Axial GMT model. From the latter it gets basic design and movement, and the former supplied this beautiful artifact with its ostentatious orange-and-polished-metal color scheme. The expensive part is delivered courtesy of mirror-polished and sand-blasted platinum, lots of it.
Basically, everything that differentiates this ultra-limited watch (Omega plans to produce and sell no more than eight of these gadgets) from the aforementioned base GMT 43.5 MM model is the color scheme and the choice of materials.
Still, as usual for a brand of such a high pedigree, the new mix seems to be well-balanced and, all things considered, leaves a very good impression. The polished surface of the unidirectional rotating bezel with a well-chosen typeface for the Arabic numerals that act as an external chapter ring is nicely matched in color and reflective properties to subtly glossy texture of the leather strap. In its own turn, the light-grey stitching on the strap nicely corresponds to the signature greyish color of the Pt950 platinum alloy that the timekeeper’s case is crafted from.
The fact that the cap on the helium-escape valve is matched in its style to the setting/winding crown, too, greatly increases general appeal of this watch: it is these minor details that often separate a true piece of luxury from a cheap wannabe.
It is still powered by their in-house Omega caliber Co-Axial 8615 self-winding movement that features an antimagnetic Si14 silicon balance spring and twin-barrel design that guarantees at least 60 hours of power reserve (we have seen its like in the 2012 Seamaster Aqua-Terra GMT model).
The cal. 8615 is quite accurate thanks to its free sprung balance and the use of a non-magnetic silicon balance string: something that you rightfully expect from a chronometer.
The movement is still relatively new and only time will tell how reliable it will be in a longer perspective. However, during its first couple of years of life the mechanism didn’t reveal any significant number of birth defects, if you don’t mind the expression. Or, at least, I never heard of anything serious regarding this piece (it actually says something, since I am watching this brand closely for a number of years now). Also, the fact that Omega supplies their watches with a four-year manufacturer’s warranty means that they are quite confident when it comes to quality of their calibers.
The mechanisms are quite complex, so servicing them may be a bit expensive, but so is the watch.
Its nicely sculpted body with integrated lugs still features the same helium-escape valve (HEV): a must for a watch, which is rated for impressive 600 meters of water resistance.
It must be noted that, measuring more than 43 millimeters in diameter, the watch is fairly large and will not fit every wrist. If you are a big guy, you are probably good to go. But if you sit on the skinnier side, you will really need to try one on your own hand: ordering one blindly from an online retailer is always potentially disappointing experience, but in this particular instance the bad experience (for the skinnier kind) is almost guaranteed.
Speaking of blindness, I must also say that this is one of those rare models that looks as good on photos as in real life. Everything is nicely fitted together and looks as gorgeous as an interior of a Rolls-Royce. I think, in real life the orange in this watch is a bit brighter than on these photos, but not a lot.
The rotating bezel with 24-hour scale that, together with a thin pointer crafted from anodized orange aluminum, serves as a second time zone display, is, too, on its rightful place.
However, it is the platinum that makes all the difference. Besides platinum body, the watch also features its sand-blasted dial and polished LiquidMetal-style bezel inlays fashioned from the same precious metal. Of course, the watch doesn’t look as expensive as some tasteless kitsch job crafted from rose gold and decorated with diamonds, patches of carbon-fiber and pieces of the Soviet “Lunokhod” moon rover, but it is that hidden value of the gadget that makes some people swell with pride.
Besides its extremely nice look, the latter seems the only point of this timekeeper.
The aforementioned Aqua-Terra GMT had only one serious problem: its dial with an internal chapter ring that displayed time in the usual military 24-hour format looked a bit too overcrowded. The new Seamaster Planet Ocean Platinum Orange Ceramic mitigates the problem (and quite gracefully at that) by moving the scale from the dial to the bezel killing two birds with one stone: the dial now looks clean and easy to read, while the bezel is nicely decorated with the brand’s signature LiquidMetal inlays.
Well, there is a little trade-off here, too. Despite the terrifying water resistance rating of 600 meters, which makes even some professional diving timepieces look like toys compared to this monster, you won’t be able to use it as a diving companion: it is the usual diving scale that is now replaced with the second time zone display. On the other hand, the trade-off seems to be justified by the gadget’s price: Omega want’s whole CHF 59,000 for this orange beauty and only a really insane person would use this piece of watchmaking art for real diving.
The watch will be presented soon at Baselworld 2014 show.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 3/5
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Platinum Orange Ceramic (ref. 188.8.131.52.99.001) watch specification
Price: CHF 100,000
Movement: Automatic, Omega caliber Co-Axial 8615, adjusted to five positions, Si14 silicon balance spring, two spring barrels, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 38
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 60 hours
Movement decoration: Bridges and the oscillating weight decorated with exclusive Geneva waves in arabesque
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, GMT (two extra time zones)
Case material: Platinum
Bezel material: Orange ceramic with platinum LiquidMetal numerals and vertical markers
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Tonneau
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 43.50 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Sand-blasted platinum
Hour markers: Luminous, white gold
Hands: Luminous, white gold
Water resistance: 600 meters
Strap: Integrated orange leather strap with platinum stitching and a platinum foldover clasp / Spare orange rubber strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides
Case back: Sapphire